A Closer Look at Surround Sound and Reason It Does what it does
5.1 Speakers are the most common implementation of surround sound. In the world of audio, various types of sound configurations are achievable, each giving specific quality and ambience in a given environment. In any form of visual and audio entertainment, the ‘feel’ of its sound is very important. An individual who is experiencing audio or audio-visual media relies on good sound to know what is being conveyed. Sound is as important as the visual media and can be manipulated for fuller comprehension and experience of the media message.
In reality, sound comes at us directly from its source, but is also reflected by surfaces all around us; hence the 3 dimensional feel which our ears comprehend. This is what surround sound systems seek to replicate electronically.
Surround sound refers to audio signals, which have been digitally processed and sent to multiple channels that have outputs located in several physical locations in a room. The listener therefore simultaneously experiences the sound coming at them from the various channels, and gets a feeling of being enveloped by the sound, much like real life experience.
Surround Sound Receivers digitally process surround sound data and sends it to surround sound speakers where the sound is reproduced. These receivers decode certain surround sound formats including Dolby Stereo Digital (DSD), Digital Theatre Systems(DTS), Dolby Digital EX, THX Surround and Sony Dynamic Digital Sound (SDDS). Of these, Dolby Digital is the surround sound format used by practically all standard DVD’s and some HDTV broadcasts.
5.1 speaker systems broadcast to a cluster of five speakers and one subwoofer. The channels these speakers use are commonly referred to as 5.1, i.e. front right and front left speakers, centre channel speaker, 2 surround sound speakers or rear channel speakers and one subwoofer.
The Front Speakers (left and right) are the most important speakers in the 5.1 speaker set up. Most music comes from these speakers, and they can be used when listening to media with no surround signals available. As such, they need to be high quality, performance speakers.
The Center Channel speaker is usually a small speaker that seats near the center of the surround sound setup. This carries mid range frequencies, especially the vocal range.
The Rear Channel speakers are used behind an individual, one to the right and to the left. These assist to envelop the individual in sound. In the 5.1 surround set up,
These speakers are usually located behind a person’s head. All these speakers have a frequency response in the range of 20Hz to 20kHz.
The Subwoofer speakers are responsible for producing the low frequencies of sound. These are generally omni directional and can be placed anywhere in a space. They are invaluable in ensuring completeness of sound being experienced in an audio clip. These generally have frequency responses of only 3hz to 120 Hz.
Surround sound is a great way to experience multimedia resources. It is heart-warming to experience a film in 3 dimensions. The 5.1 speakers allow users to truly feel the quality of surround sound.